Born in 1889, Mr. Hopkins describes his experiences growing up in Truro, Massachusetts. He was the 6th of 8 children and was delivered by a midwife. At 88 he attributes his longevity to good genes and cod liver oil.
He describes how they made cod liver oil and how often he took it. His family was self-sufficient growing and storing vegetables, raising chickens and ducks and eating herring and cod. His chores included milking cows at 10, taking care of the horse and plowing fields and chopping wood at 12. He describes his father’s experience of being a fisherman from age 12 to 18 and his reason for leaving fishing boats. His father’s occupations included working on fish traps, delivering mail, transportation of summer people and running an inn and stables called Central House in Truro. Mr. Hopkins recalls having appendicitis in 1901 at the age of 12 and being placed in a buckboard and taken to Provincetown to be placed on the ship the steamship Dorothy Bradford to reach Mass General Hospital in Boston. He also remembers the ambulance from the ship to the hospital was horse drawn. He recalls meeting the Italian inventor and electrical engineer Marconi who was staying at the Central House in 1902. He listened to Marconi explain the propagation of radio waves. He describes his typical day when he went to high school. His day started at 5:00 am. Mr. Hopkins recalls his life at Tufts University and social lessons he learned. He also tells a story of the wreck of the Jason in 1893 and meeting the 16 year old cabin boy who was the lone survivor.
The Tales of Cape Cod Oral History Collection is located at the William Brewster Nickerson Archives in the Wilkens Library at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, Massachusetts.
For more information about the Collection, please contact the Nickerson Archives at http://www.nickersonarchives.org/.